Transit Center Apartments Planned with Artists in Mind

Who will live in the the 72 apartments and 20 condos that will be part of the La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility’s new Grand River Station?

Don Smith of the La Crosse Arts Steering Committee hopes many of those residents will be artists.

At a public hearing Monday night, Christopher Laurent, Wisconsin market president for Gorman & Co., said they are doing everything they can to make the building attractive to artists, including live-work spaces, gallery spaces, studios, and media centers.

Based on input from a similar meeting a year ago at the Pump House, Gorman unveiled its plans for the space and answered more questions about what the building will contain.

Plans are fluid right now for how some of those spaces will be used, Laurent said, because the residents likely will decide for themselves how they want to use the spaces. But the apartments are being planned with artists in mind, capturing as much natural light as possible and providing good ventilation.

But the building will not be limited to artists, said Laurent. Realistically, anyone who passes the criminal background and credit checks can sign up on the waiting list in summer 2009.

“Our first concern is if you can pay the rent,” he said.

But Smith said he and his group will work hard to get the word out to artists, because that’s the core group they want.

“Those people who are getting started don’t need to leave town to get started,” he said, because this place will give them their start.

There is no firm date for occupancy of the building, but Laurent said the goal is two years from now.

For more information or a look at other Gorman projects, including the Gund Brewery Lofts in La Crosse, go online to www.GormanUSA.net.